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Our octopus O. Wolfi? Just had babies, what do we do now?

Nov 5, 2005
We purchased an O. Wolfi octopus from our LFS, within two weeks of purchase she climbed into a hole in some lace rock, and began hatching eggs. This morning we awoke to find her out of that hole, and baby octopus' swimming all around the tank. We contacted our local zoo, and public aquarium, and nobody really gave solid answers on what to do. We've been feeding rotifers and zooplankton, we've stopped filtration, and added an airstone for water movement, but my question is, are we supposed to separate from the mother? (She's been ignoring them) and do we have to separate them from each other? How soon does all this have to occur? and what is realistic survival rate? Currently we have atleast 20 - 30 live specimens, all swimming at the top in the rotifer field. What do we do now? Any and all answers will help. We really did not expect this, nor do we know how she got fertilized. Thank you in advance.:bugout:
I have no experience with the raising of that species...but the best advice I can give you is, don't do anything rash.
Unfortunately, this signals the near end of your adult octo...but, it also offers you the chance to raise some young ones! For the moment, what you have done is ok, although you are going to probably want to pick up a net breeder or something so you can get your filter back up and running tomorrow.
The food supply should be ok for now, and give you enough time to do some research in the next day or so. Jim at Octopets might be able to help you out...


Not sure of the size of the lil'uns but your biggest challenge will be providing the right food at the right time in the right way, etc. Do you live near the ocean? I suppose that's an odd question given that you have somehow been able to supply them with zooplankton. To the best of my knowledge, babies will only take live foods, so daily plankton trawls are often the best route. Also as they grow being able to simple pull live crabs, clams, and the like out of the rocks will be much cheaper than having to buy them. Finally, being near the ocean means that you could, if all else fails, simply release them back into their natural habitat. Of course, this is ONLY an acceptable practice when you local environment includes this species. I don't know where you live nor where this species is found, but please don't let them go if they don't belong there.
I think cthulhu77's idea regarding the breeder net is also very good and something that should be done asap as the babies aren't ones to like poor water quality.
Again, congradulations. You've got a challenge ahead of you, but I think it should be most enjoyable. Please keep up posted.

That's exciting to hear. As far as I know, no one's ever hatched wolfi eggs before, or even seen mature eggs (Neogonodactylus- have you?). How big are the hatchlings? If they're less than about 3mm, then the chances of survival are pretty low. You're doing everything right (feeding rotifers, - not sure what flow is best), but planktonic hatchlings just have a hard time surviving in aquaria. If they're bigger than that- say 5mm of so, then the chances are way better- separate them somehow (like in those little breeder cages for mollies or something) and feed them rotifers, then enriched brine when they get bigger.
Do you have pics of the mom? Did she lay all the eggs at once (if she's in the rock it's hard to tell) Is she still alive? Wolfi is one of the smallest octos known. S.V. Boletzky proposed that pygmy octos make up for their small broods by living a little longer and laying a few rounds of eggs. If this is the case for wolfi- then keep feeding her. She might not be done yet.
Also- some female mate when just becoming mature and/or can store sperm for months, so it looks like she got lucky before she made the treck from the tropical pacific to Denver.
place two or3 in a gallon milk jug with an air stone and seperate all of them that way. as they get bigger due to feeding and cannablism move the remaining into seperate tanks or rubbermaid boxes and just slowly narrow the remaing down that way so its in a controlled environment. then you dont lose any in filtration etc.
Congratulations on the new arrivals!

A wee word of warning, the airstone flows MUST be low, (actually an air lift is better) because if the bubbles get into the mantle the bubs are done for.

Would love to see some pics. Our Gerbil's eggs O. warringa/huttoni have eyed up and we're starting to see some chromatophores developing.............won't be long now!

Scouse said:
hey Jean

whats an air lift?

Essentially it's a tube that is joined at the base to a filter grill and containes an air stone. The bubbles move the water from the bottom to the top and the bubbles are expelled along the surface of the water, not through the water column.

Cheers Jean

I get what you mean getting gas exchange at the surface without risk of getting water under the octo's mantle.

Do you buy these or make them? or both?


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